What New Facebook Pages Mean For Marketers

You’ve probably noticed by now, or been notified, that Facebook Pages for business have changed.  As of March 10, all pages will be in the new format.  Gone are the tabs and the fan images down the left.  Instead, photos march across the top and navigation has moved left.  But beyond the cosmetic, what has changed and what does this mean for your business?

Categories and Subcategories

Once upon a time you could set a category and never change it.  Now you can, and you can add a subcategory as well.  These settings dictate what information you can fill out on your info page – for example, local businesses include addresses, brands generally do not. If you were stuck with the wrong category, change it now.  And everyone should add a subcategory.

Use Facebook As Page

use-facebook-as-page

This is probably the most radical change to Pages.  It used to be that if you were an admin on a page, you could only post to that page as the page, never as yourself.  Now you can do both.  Toggle the choice under Account – Use Facebook As Page, or while you’re on the Page, select to Use Facebook as [Brand] on the right side under the Admins section.  While this allows for a great deal more interaction on the page from admins, do be careful that your admins are not the only people talking on your page – and, be careful to avoid the appearance of “astroturfing” – propping up your business by using hired guns (i.e., your administrators) to say nice things about you.

Relevant Posts

Facebook used to allow three choices for viewing the wall: [Brand] + Others, Just [Brand], or Just Others.  Those choices have been simplified to Everyone or [Brand].  But beyond that, the Wall is no longer chronological.  That’s right, just like your personal News Feed (which uses Facebook’s EdgeRank to determine which posts are most relevant to you), Fan Pages are now subject to a Facebook algorithm to determine which posts to show at the top.  In fact, at this moment I’m looking at a client page that’s showing, from top down, a post from today, then a post from last week, then a post from yesterday, then another from today.  Feels kinda weird to me, but it’s what we’ve got now.  So know that your most popular posts will rise to the top and new visitors (because that’s who mainly looks directly at your wall) will see those first. It’s probably mostly a good thing, but it could also trip you up if content you think is timely or important is not Liked or Commented on, because it may get buried by more popular content.

Public Admins

An interesting new feature that I have not seen widely adopted yet is the ability to add your admins to the left side of the page as “Featured Page Owners.”  This could be really good for brands with strong personalities involved, such as brand spokespeople or beloved community managers.  It could also help avoid the astroturfing issue described above, because if it’s totally transparent who your admins are, then the fact that they’re posting on your page a lot shouldn’t be a mystery.  Use this feature with caution, though – not all of your admins should necessarily be your front-facing social media presences, lest they get asked questions or connected to personally.  There may also be some employees who don’t really want to be the public face of the brand.

Featured Likes

You’ve always had the ability to “Like” another fan page, and now you can feature five of them prominently (even in rotation with others) on the left side of your page.  This option, and Public Admins, are both enabled from the main admin menu under “Featured.”  This can be a great way to showcase partnerships, stroke a potential client/customer, or otherwise show off an affiliation with another brand.  Remember, too, that brands can only tag other pages in their posts, and you have to Like the other page in order to do so – so even if you Like a lot of pages,  you can still make some of them special with the Featured Likes rotation.

What are you doing with your redesigned Page?  Have you included cool images? How are you managing the balance between page and admins?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments?

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